Lucas, Steve – “Kokyangwuti” Spider Design Bowl
This is a striking new bowl by Steve Lucas. He has been one of the most influential traditional Hopi potters of the past several decades. His large, thin-walled vessels along with his detailed painting, precise lines, and neo-traditional designs are hallmarks of his pottery. This bowl is thin-walled and highly polished. The design is painted with delicate lines on the polished surface. It is a traditional spider pattern that was revived by Nampeyo of Hano. Do you know the importance and the story of the Spider, or Spider Woman, in Hopi culture?
“In Hopi, Spider Woman assumes the role of the creator of all living things, including humans. She is also called “Spider Grandmother” (Hopi Kokyangwuti), or “Gogyeng Sowuhti”. She can take the shape of an old, or timeless woman or the shape of a common spider in many Hopi stories. When she is in her spider shape, she lives underground in a hole that is like a Kiva. When she is called upon, she will help people in many ways, such as giving advice or providing medicinal cures. “Spider Grandmother” is seen as a leader, a wise individual who represents good things.
The spider design is repeated three times on the bowl. They are highlighted with red and brown polished areas. Separating them are additional spiders, weaving and highlighted with white and dark brown clays. The jar combines detailed designs with larger open areas that accentuate the designs. The piece is painted with bee-weed and has polished red and dark brown areas. The bowl was traditionally fired to create strong blushes on the surface. Steve has won numerous awards for his pottery, from Best of Show at Santa Fe Indian Market to the Helen Naha “Traditional” award. The jar is signed on the bottom, “Steve Lucas” and an ear of corn (Corn Clan) and a Mudhead Katsina.